The Prince of Pennsylvania (1988) from Tuna

Despite a name cast (Amy Madigan, Fred Ward, Keanu Reeves, Bonnie Bedelia), this is an all-but-forgotten "rebellious youth" comedy set in a small mining town in Pennsylvania.

Rupert (Keanu Reeves) dropped out of high school because he just didn't fit in. He is not very happy to be living at home, but then how could he be? He's a high school drop-out in central Pennsylvania, and his only career choices seem to involve underground mines. His mother (Bonnie Bedelia) is sleeping with her husband's best friend, and his father makes no effort at all to relate to him.

The only person Ruport does relate to is a local hippie (Amy Madigan), the owner of a seedy drive-in. He fancies himself in love with her, so he concocts a wild scheme to kidnap his dad and force the sale of some property to a mining company, then take the money and run away with his hippie chick. As you might imagine, things don't quite work out as planned.

Roger Ebert was highly incensed that they took honest, hard-working characters and legitimate acting talent and put them into such a silly plot. Critics were uniformly unkind. While I did get a chuckle or two, I have to agree. The plot was rather far-fetched to begin with, and the development and details made it worse, not better.



  • Widescreen anamorphic transfer



Amy Madigan offers a very clear look at her bum, and some passing side views of her breasts.

Scoop's notes:

It can be interesting to look back on some of the predictions people made about newbies in their era, and to see what has transpired since. This comedic film received an Independent Spirit nomination for "best debut feature," so you might have expected first-time director Ron Nyswaner to direct some good comedies by now. Didn't happen. He was also a last-time director. On the other hand, his screenwriting career did very well indeed. Five years after making the Prince of Pennsylvania, he was nominated for an Oscar - and for about the least comedic film ever written - Philadelphia! He has also written a highly respected TV movie called Soldier's Girl (8.2 at IMDb!)

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

  • It was virtually unreleased, grossing $5,000
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a D. Minimal laughs.

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